Rocky Road Maple Bars

rocky road maple bars

rocky road maple bars

Are you searching for a decadent treat to take to a summer party? Look no further. Fellow party guests will crowd around when their taste buds get a hint of these sweet and rich bars. The combination of chocolate, peanuts, and marshmallows will be a delight, but it’s the explosion of maple that is the surprise. Never having used maple flavoring before I was intrigued enough to try out these bars. I was glad I did and you will be, too.

The recipe I found was already vegan and it required no baking adjustments. So, the changes I made were more about techniques and flavors. The biggest adjustment was adding marshmallows to give the bars a rocky road profile. I had large ones in my cupboard that required the sticky task of cutting them up. If you have minis it will be much easier.

Rocky Road Maple Bars adapted from Chocolate Peanut Maple Bars

2 12-ounce packages vegan chocolate chips
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1.75 cups no-salt, dry-roasted peanuts
3 TBS dry vegan vanilla pudding mix
1 cup vegan margarine
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
3.5 cups organic powdered sugar
1 tsp maple flavoring
8 large vegan marshmallows

Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter in a pot set on medium-low heat, stirring to combine. Take the pot off of the heat and stir in peanuts. In a 9 x 13” parchment-lined pan, spread half the chocolate mixture. Place the pan in the refrigerator to cool and set.

In a pot over medium-low heat, combine pudding mix and margarine. When melted together, lower heat slightly and stir in milk. Bring to a boil and let boil for 1 minute. Transfer pudding mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir in powdered sugar and maple flavoring, and whip until smooth.

Remove pan from refrigerator and spread pudding mixture onto cooled chocolate layer. Place pot with remaining chocolate mixture over low heat. Cut each marshmallow into six pieces and stir into warmed chocolate mixture. Spread rocky road mixture evenly over pudding mixture. Chill in refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Remove bars from pan with parchment paper flaps, place on a cutting board, and cut into squares.

Until next time, happy non-baking!

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Yogurt

chocolate chip cookies with yogurt

chocolate chip cookies with yogurt

Last week at the Vegan Dairy Fair, I was asked what egg substitutes I used in my baking. My reply was that I have tried them all, from packaged egg replacer to tofu. That question got me thinking about revisiting egg subs. I hadn’t used yogurt in awhile, and my hubby was craving chocolate chip cookies, so the following recipe was created.

The original recipe was a healthier rendition of a standard chocolate chip cookie. It used yogurt instead of eggs, but I veganized it by making the yogurt non-dairy. I also modified it with vegan versions of the other ingredients. No changes were needed for high altitude because cookies are forgiving that way. I just tweaked a few of the steps and the oven temperature, and came up with a very tasty cookie.

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Yogurt adapted from Cornell University Cooperative Extension, Eat Smart New York!

1/2 cup organic sugar
1/2 cup organic brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup vegan margarine
1/2 cup non-dairy vanilla yogurt
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine sugar, brown sugar, and margarine. Beat until light and fluffy. Add yogurt and vanilla and blend well. Sift together the flours, baking soda, and salt. Beat the flour mixture into the margarine mixture a cupful at a time. Stir the chocolate chips in by hand. Drop by rounded spoonfuls 2” apart onto cookie sheets. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute, then remove from cookie sheets.

Until next time, happy baking!

Vegan Dairy Fair Offers Tempting Treats

Demo with The Doctor and The Chef

The Doctor and The Chef demo at Vegan Dairy Fair

Another Vegan Dairy Fair wrapped up yesterday in Boulder, Colorado. This tasty event, an educational project sponsored by Dale Ball and Bleating Hearts Sanctuary, offered the chance to sample plant-based dairy creations. While snacking on non-dairy ice cream, yogurts, and dips, I learned why these food choices are important to humans and animals.

The fair also provided cooking demos – my personal favorite part of the day (yes, I got new recipe ideas for the blog). First up were Mark Reinfield and Ashley Boudet, ND of The Doctor and The Chef. Mark regaled us with vegan jokes and demonstrated recipes from their new book, “The Ultimate Age-Defying Plan.” Mark showed how to make the delicious concoctions with Ashley reporting on the dishes’ nutritional highlights. Not only did I get to eat, but I was shown why the options chosen were good for my health. Win-Win!

Then it was time to check out the vendors with food selections from national companies as well as local businesses. From this showcase of sweet and savory snacks, I enjoyed cheese sauces, non-dairy milks, and caramels. But having tried and failed to make vegan donuts myself, my hat heartily goes off to Rustic Donut who bake a scrumptious donut that is not only vegan but also gluten-free.

Dale Ball introducing Kathy Peters

Dale Ball introducing Kathy Peters

The last cooking class was given by vegan mentor Kathy Peters, who made a versatile and yummy Vanilla Pastry Cream. She also gave instructions on how to use various non-dairy ingredients in vegan desserts. Her joy of vegan food preparation obviously spills out onto her family because they each had a part in her presentation. That seemed to be a thread that ran throughout the day – one of including friends and family while you honor your health and that of the animals and the earth.